Kathryn Eisman is a television journalist and host who has worked on the US Today show in New York and E! News in Los Angeles. The former model has also written and illustrated two bestselling books. She is married to the Australian entrepreneur Siimon Reynolds and they have a three-year-old daughter, Capri. Eisman, 36, tells Kate Waterhouse about career highs, motherhood and her new blog, High Heel Jungle.
What is a day in the life of you? Some days I’ll be on location shooting a TV interview with Ariana Grande or Lisa Vanderpump, other days I’ll be in studio filming a live segment for Good Day LA, other days I’ll be working from Soho House in West Hollywood writing a feature for my new blog, High Heel Jungle. No matter how exciting my day, the best part without doubt is walking into my daughter’s room each morning, alongside my husband Siimon, and waking her up together and seeing her little face. We have breakfast together, which includes lots of music and dancing – and occasionally some eating.
Did you always want to be an author and TV reporter? I was that girl at school studying four-unit English and three-unit history and as many essay-based subjects as possible. I have always been passionate about communicating ideas, about analysing society and seeking meaning in the “ordinary”; asking “why do we do what we do?” It could be the choice to wear a particular item of clothing and what it reveals about our subconscious values and self-identity, or digging deeper during my TV interviews to understand what motivates the people shaping popular culture and why we are fascinated with them.
What was your first big break? I think when there was a bidding war to publish my first book, How To Tell a Man by His Shoes, at the age of 20 and it then going on to become an international bestseller.
What was your biggest pinch-me moment? Perhaps landing the role as on-air chief features reporter for NBC in New York and getting to pitch, produce, write and report for the No. 1 morning news program in the world, interviewing everyone from politicians to pop culture royalty, like George Clooney and Sarah Jessica Parker, alongside industry icons like Katie Couric. Getting to cover social issues and trends from my own point of view was like being given the key to the city!
Who has been your favourite celebrity interview? Dwayne Johnson, aka “the Rock” . He is such a presence, and not just physically. I was recently interviewing him for his role in [the film] Moana and when our time was up and they started wrapping me, he interjected and said, “Now this is interesting … let’s continue!” No one argues with the Rock! He is so honest, open and generous. It’s little wonder his is the most bankable star in Hollywood. Oh, and Jon Hamm, for obvious reasons [laughs].
Who would you still like to interview? Elon Musk.
You have written two bestselling books. Do you have plans for any more? Yes, I have a book I’m dying to write. I’m just looking for a window of time to write it. It might have to be between midnight and 4am!
What inspired you to launch High Heel Jungle? Social media has ushered in with it a culture of comparison, of peddling this false perception of living the “perfect life”. High Heel Jungle is the antidote to that. Yes, it’s beautiful to look at; yes, it celebrates success, but every article I write, every celebrity interview is rooted in truth so that my community leaves feeling empowered rather than inadequate.
What is life like in LA? Very happy. We feel like we have found a second home with wonderful friends, a home we love sharing as a family, and we get to do what we love in a hub of modern media and entertainment.
What has working overseas taught you? Work ethic and resilience. Every time I’ve landed in a new city, be it New York or LA, I’ve done it without knowing anyone or having any industry contacts, so I’ve had to keep proving myself again and again. The world doesn’t owe me anything, and knowing this has been a great gift.
What do you miss most about Australia when you are abroad? So much. My parents and having them around me as we raise our daughter; my childhood friends; the food and beaches.
How do you balance the juggle of motherhood and success? Like all working mums I wish I had five more hours in the day, but I’ve become so much more efficient because I don’t want to waste a moment that’s keeping me from my family. When I’m at work, I’m 100 per cent focused on work. When I’m with my daughter, I’m not cruising Instagram or thinking about my next assignment, I’m really present.
What was life like before motherhood, and how has motherhood changed your life? Now I ask myself, “What would Capri enjoy”. You sacrifice downtime, but now everything has so much more meaning. I feel a great sense of purpose and a deeper love than I could ever imagine.
What’s the best thing about being a modern mother? We can make up our own rules and are no longer confined to traditional roles. Just because you are a mother doesn’t mean you cease to be a woman or a human being with dreams of your own. And the world has finally woken up to the fact that a fulfilled woman makes for a better mother!
What’s the hardest thing about being a modern mother? Having it all isn’t easy! I often feel as though I have two full-time jobs and only the time to fulfil one of them.
What is the one thing you hope Capri grows up to know and appreciate? Kindness and resilience. No one who ever truly succeeded did so without facing enormous odds. Knowing that just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s wrong is a great advantage. Also, it’s important to be strong, but never let any person, any job or circumstance make your heart hard.
What’s your number one fashion tip? Dress to make yourself happy. If that means pastel dressed – like it does for me – then go for it. If it means black basics, great.
Who is your role model? My grandmother, Anna Reich, was the epitome of what it is to be a lady. She was a brilliant businesswoman who oversaw her portfolio well into her 90s. She was always impeccably dressed, but above all else she valued family.
Who do you turn to for help and advice? My mother, my husband, my best friend.
How would you describe Siimon as a Dad? Endlessly patient, joyful and kind. He never loses his temper, he is so gentle and fun-loving.
How do you unwind and unplug from social media? I just turn my phone off! It isn’t always easy but I force myself to physically unplug. I also try to make eye contact with Capri and Siimon more often because we have a society that’s always looking down at our phone instead of looking up into the eyes of the people we love.
What’s your favourite way to spend a day off? We’re trying to take more family vacations. It’s hard to justify the time off, but when I think of my childhood, it’s our family trips that I remember most clearly. This year it was a month in Sydney with family and taking Capri to Capri for the first time!
WE WENT TO
Hotel Centennial, Woollahra
King trout sashimi-style breakfast bowl with avocado, wombok, nori, organic brown rice and soft egg; Spinach and feta biodynamic egg-white omelette served with salad and grilled sourdough
Mimosa with prosecco with strawberry and basil